Guest Author - Laura Lehman
In the cyberpunk world of Hammerjack the government is controlled by the Collective, a group of corporations. Cray Alden is a former hammerjack, a hacker, who now works for the Collective. His boss, Phao Yin, sends him on a misson to retieve some data stolen by a hammerjack named Heretic and carried by a runner named Zoe. When he extracts the falsh data from her, he notices something odd. It is evolving and changing Zoe's DNA.
Before his first assignment is resolved he is given a second, to investigate an SI (synthetic intelligence) that has turned murderous. While trying to sort things out, he lands in the middle of a war between the Collective and the Inru, an anti-tech cult. Each side is trying to find the fabled "other," a sort of living computer. Cray finds an ally in Heretic, a legendary hammerjack, but also finds that he is evolving into somehing less human.
Hammerjack is action-filled cyberpunk, the first in a new series by Giller. There's a lot of dark and gritty atmosphere one would expect in such a novel, although the dense details sometime bogs down the action. At first, the character seemed very flat. Cray especially started out as somewhat predictable; a reformed hacker caught in a coporate job that he hates, feeling very little. By the end, though, Cray's character evolves and becomes more real.
I was also intriguied by Avalon, the agent sent with him to investigate the SI. On the surface she is very emotionless. A virus had changed her and she relies on technology to the point that she is almost a machine. There is one scene where she and Cray are discussing the SI and she lets her stony exterior drop for a moment, giving Cray a glimpse at her humaity. It is only one small moment in the whole novel, but it makes me wonder what will happen to her in later books. Will she continue to work for technological evolution or will her human side sway her beliefs?
I'm the first to admit I donít often read cyberpunk. Whenever I do, I get the feeling that I don't completely understand everything, kind of like being dropped off in a foreign land where you only know half the language. With that said, I did enjoy reading Hammerjack and look forward to reading more by Marc D Giller. If you're a cyberpunk fan, this is a sure bet. Even if you don't normally read cyberpunk, you might just enjoy this one.
Pyr Publishing provided me with a free review copy of Hammerjack